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Get a weekly roundup of the best Substack posts, by hacker news affinity:

Top posts of the year

By hacker news affinity
day week month year all
samf 24 likes 07 May 22
Sadiq Khan and Karen Buck MP celebrate with the new Labour leader of Westminster Council after taking control for the first time ever. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images) I’m not going to spend too much time setting out the results from the local elections both because the numbers are easily available elsewhere, and because last week’s
samf 24 likes 24 May 22
A flashing red light should be going off in Downing Street after Scott Morrison's loss
samf 23 likes 31 Jan 22
The smart view was that the Met had screwed up Sue Gray’s report and that in some way this would let Johnson off the hook. It might be thought that being subject to a criminal investigation was potentially more damning and embarrassing that an internal Cabinet Office investigation, but for Johnson it had the advantage of stringing the process along, providing an opportunity for boredom and other distractions to kick in. Eventually the Met would come back and hand out its penalty notices, including potentially to Mr and Mrs Johnson, but this might be months away. In Johnson’s world all delay is good (‘Wait for the Met’ has now taken over from ‘Wait for Gray’). The value of every fib and obfuscation is to get you past the day’s headlines. Some other device can be found for the day after next.
samf 23 likes 04 Mar 22
Writing about British politics at the moment feels like sitting in a restaurant complaining about the soup while the kitchen burns down 20 feet away. The very worst problems we have look petty and mundane set alongside the hell Ukrainians are experiencing. Nevertheless, domestic politics does trundle on, and will eventually return to the forefront of our minds. When it does the impact of this war on both the political landscape and a whole range of policy areas will be significant.
samf 22 likes 19 Jun 22
The grounded Rwanda deportation flight EC-LZO Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base, which was half an hour a way from departing with four aslyum seekers aboard last Tuesday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) As a policy the Government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda doesn’t have much going for it. The ethics of forcibly sending people who’ve committed no crime to a third country they don’t know, and has a poor human rights record, have been condemned by everyone from the UN to the Prince of Wales. There is no sign as yet that it will act as a deterrent against small boats, with around 450 asylum seekers crossing the channel the day the first flight was due to leave. There is a good chance it will be found to be illegal by either the UK or European courts. Even if it isn’t it’s incredibly expensive.
samf 22 likes 19 Apr 22
There were lots of interesting responses my last post; both in the comments and sent to me privately. I’m going to run through some of the really key ones, some of which deserve proper detailed posts of their own in future. 1. A number of people raised the issue of delivery capability. My post focuses on why the Government rarely even tries to do t…
samf 18 likes 09 Apr 22
Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron pose for pictures before their 2017 Presidential debate (photo FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images) There is always oddly little coverage of French (or German) elections in the UK compared to US Presidential races. But this year’s contest is finally getting some attention due to polls showing a tightening of a potential second round race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. A
samf 18 likes 29 Jul 22
I’m on holiday so my next proper post will be next week. But I wanted to do a short update on the substack. Some of you may have noticed I stopped doing the monthly updates – they didn’t get as much engagement as other posts, and there are other UK substackers who do good weekly lists of links (
samf 16 likes 29 Jun 22
The Liberal Democrats celebrate winning the Tiverton and Honiton by-election in their own indomitable style (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images) The most interesting feature of the by-elections last week was the extremely high level of tactical voting in Tiverton and Honiton. As happened in North Shropshire, late last year, the Liberal Democrats came from third place to win, supported by a huge drop in the Labour vote.
samf 16 likes 05 May 22
A Syrian child receives medical help after a chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018. Assadist and Russian propagandists spread theories it was a “false flag”. (Photo by Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.’
samf 11 likes 20 Feb 22
The Russian-Ukraine crisis is reaching its culminating stage with the much anticipated and transparently staged ‘provocation’ in the Donbas. This is how the playbook tells us that President Putin creates his pretext for war. A manufactured threat to the enclaves in Eastern Ukraine was always one potential casus belli, even though it does not relate to the big Russian theme of the past few months, which is that urgent action is needed to redress the bias against Russia in the European security order.
samf 11 likes 27 Jan 22
Has Boris Johnson's domestic trouble made any difference to the UK response in Ukraine? Would deposing him change anything?
samf 10 likes 25 Jan 22
Speaking to headteachers at the moment one topic comes up time and time again: the mental health of their pupils. It feels very much like a crisis but figuring out exactly what is going on is not straightforward. There’s no doubt that referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have gone through the roof. In 2019/20, over
samf 9 likes 13 Feb 22
Well before the three Ps (Paterson, Peppa, Parties) derailed Boris Johnson, I thought that a hung parliament was the most likely outcome at the next election. The Tories have defied electoral logic in the last two elections by increasing their percentage of the vote for the fifth and sixth time in succession. As far as I know this has never happened in an advanced democracy before. The reasons they were able to do this were Brexit and the takeover of the Labour Party by the hard left. These two highly unusual factors are now fading as concerns for voters, albeit not yet entirely irrelevant. Barring unexpected events, the next election will be fought on domestic policy issues with a mainstream Labour leadership. After 14 years in power, and without the shields of Brexit or Corbyn, any Tory government would likely see a significant swing away from them.
samf 7 likes 20 Jan 22
Any military offensive against Ukraine by Russia would be a clear breach of the UN Charter, which states that ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state’.
samf 7 likes 22 Feb 22
Last week the Government released new guidance on political impartiality in schools. It was briefed to the right-wing media as an “anti-woke” measure. The Telegraph dutifully announced that schools would be “forbidden from promoting Black Lives Matter to children”; The Times
samf 6 likes 04 May 22
Welcome to new subscribers from April. This is a monthly post Sam writes to update on the substack; link to favourite pieces; and review a recommended book. This month Dad has continued to focus on the Russo-Ukraine war. Last week he looked at the risks of Russia lashing out as it struggles to gain a military advantage. I have looked at the far-right in Europe, both in terms of Marine Le Pen’s
samf 6 likes 05 Feb 22
How will the Russia-Ukraine crisis end? Speculation about what Putin really wants and how he intends to get it has been going round and round Western policy making communities for weeks without a consensus being reached but many analysts now think a moment of truth cannot be too far away. Putin is presented as facing a binary choice: he must address his many grievances through either military or diplomatic means. Both are currently being pursued, with forces still moving into positions close to the border with Ukraine (including into Belarus) while there are ongoing high-level conversations and exchanges of papers on how to ease the current tensions.
samf 1 likes 11 Feb 22
While the top diplomatic priority at the moment is to prevent a possible war between Russia and Ukraine, another effort is underway in Vienna to try to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power. As Russia is building up its forces around Ukraine while denying it has any intention to invade, so Iran is building up its stocks of enriched Uranium, while denying it has any intention of constructing nuclear weapons. In both cases there are warnings that time is running out on diplomacy. US intelligence warns that the Russians are close to being able to launch offensives against Ukraine and also that Iran is a few months away from having enough fissile material to make its first bomb.